Sunday, July 1, 2012

Prophet Noah's Age

The age of Prophet Nūḥ (عليه السلام) is an age that is hard for us to grasp, since today the average age is about 75 years old. Allāh (عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ) has said in the Qur’ān that Prophet Nūḥ (عليه السلام) called to his people for 950 years[1]. We have many conflicting narrations on the age of Nūḥ (عليه السلام), al-Majlisī says this after a narration that states he lived for 2450 years[2]:

«بيان اعلم أن أرباب السير اختلفوا في عمره ع فقيل كان ألف سنة و قيل كان ألفا و أربعمائة و خمسين سنة و قيل كان ألفا و أربعمائة و سبعين سنة و قيل ألفا و ثلاثمائة سنة و أخبارنا المعتبرة تدل على أنه عاش ألفين و خمسمائة سنة و هذا الخبر لا يعتمد عليه لمخالفته لأقوال الفريقين و أخبارهم»
«Commentary: Know that the great biographers differ on his (عليه السلام) age. Some say he was 1000 years, others say he was 1450 years, others say he was 1470 years, and others say he was 1300 years. Our authentic narrations show that he (عليه السلام) lived for 2500 years, and this khabar (narration)[3] should not be relied upon for it contradicts the opinions of the two sects and their narrations»[4]

This Ṣaḥīḥ (Authentic) narration shows that Prophet Nūḥ (عليه السلام) lived for 2500 years, and Imām al-Ṣādiq (عليه السلام) breaks down the life of Nūḥ (عليه السلام) and divides it into parts.

حدثنا أحمد بن زياد بن جعفر الهمداني ره قال حدثنا علي بن إبراهيم عن أبيه إبراهيم بن هاشم عن علي بن الحكم عن هشام بن سالم عن الصادق جعفر بن محمد ع قال عاش نوح ع ألفي سنة و خمسمائة سنة منها ثمان مائة و خمسون سنة قبل أن يبعث و ألف سنة إلا خمسين عاما و هو في قومه يدعوهم و مائتا سنة في عمل السفينة و خمسمائة عام بعد ما نزل من السفينة و نضب الماء فمصر الأمصار و أسكن ولده البلدان ثم إن ملك الموت جاءه و هو في الشمس فقال السلام عليك فرد عليه نوح و قال له ما جاء بك يا ملك الموت فقال جئت لأقبض روحك فقال له تدعني أدخل من الشمس إلى الظل فقال له نعم فتحول نوح ع ثم قال يا ملك الموت فكان ما مر بي في الدنيا مثل تحولي من الشمس إلى الظل فامض لما أمرت به قال فقبض روحه ع
Narrated to us Aḥmad b. Ziyād b. Ja`far al-Hamadānī (عليه السلام)[5] said `Alī b. Ibrāhīm[6] narrated to us from his father Ibrāhīm b. Hāshim[7] from `Alī b. al-Ḥakam[8] from Hishām b. Sālim[9] from al-Ṣādiq Ja`far b. Muḥammad (عليه السلام) said, “Nūḥ lived for 2500 years, from it 850 before he was sent (ba`ath - becoming a Prophet), 950 years he was calling to his people, 200 years in building the safīnah (ship), and 500 years after the ship descended and the water dried out, then he built the cities and resided there with his children in the cities. Then the Malik al-Mawt (Angel of Death) came to him and he was in the sunshine, and he said, ‘Assalāmu `Alaykum’. And Nūḥ replied to him. He (عليه السلام) said to him, ‘Why have you come, O Angel?’ So he said, ‘I have come to take your life’. Then he (عليه السلام) said, ‘Can you let me enter from the sunshine to the shade?’ So he (the angel) said, ‘Yes’. Nūḥ (عليه السلام) moved, then he (عليه السلام) said, ‘O Angel of Death, what has passed by me in this world was like me moving from the sunshine to the shade. You may now do what you were commanded.’ He (عليه السلام) said: ‘Then he captured his (عليه السلام) soul.’[10]

This ḥadīth is also Ṣaḥīḥ (Authentic) through another chain of narrators in al-Ṣadūq’s Kamāl al-Dīn[11]



[1] Sūrah al-`Ankabūt (29) : Verse 14
[2] al-Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, vol. 8, pg. 284, ḥadīth # 429; al-Majlisī said this ḥadīth is Mursal (Disconnected) (See: al-Majlisī, Mir’āt al-`Uqūl, vol. 26, pg. 303
There is also another ḥadīth that says 2450 and it is narrated in al-Ṣadūq’s Kamāl al-Dīn, vol. 2, ch. 46, ḥadīth # 3. This ḥadīth is also Da`īf (Weak), because of Muḥammad b. Yūsuf al-Tamīmī, who is majhūl (unknown) (See: al-Shāhrūdī, Mustadarakāt `ilm al-Rijāl, vol. 7, pg. 378, person # 14748).
[3] Referring to the narration that says he lived for 2450 years.
[4] al-Majlisī, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 11, pg. 290
[5] Aḥmad b. Ziyād b. al-Hamadānī is thiqah (thiqah) according to al-Ṣadūq (See: al-Ṣadūq’s Kamāl al-Dīn, vol. 2, pg. 369) and al-Ḥillī (See: al-Ḥillī, al-Khulāsah, pg. 19, person # 37).
[6] `Alī b. Ibrāhīm b. Hāshim al-Qummī is thiqah (trustworth) according to al-Najāshī (See: al-Najāshī, al-Rijāl, pg. 260, person # 680) and al-Ḥillī (See: al-Ḥillī’s al-Khulāṣah, pg. 100, person #45).
[7] Ibrāhīm b. Hāshim is praised according to al-Najāshī (See: al-Najāshī, al-Rijāl, pg. 16, person # 18), al-Ṭūsī (See: al-Ṭūsī, al-Fihrist, pg. 12, person # 6) and al-Ḥillī (See: al-Ḥillī’s al-Khulāṣah, pg. 5, person #9).
[8] `Alī b. al-Ḥakam al-Anbārī is thiqah (trustworthy) according to al-Ṭūsī (See: al-Ṭūsī, al-Fihrist, pg. 263-264, person # 376) and al-Ḥillī (See: al-Ḥillī, al-Khulāṣah, pg. 93, person # 14).
[9] Hishām b. Sālim is thiqah (trustworthy) according to al-Najāshī (See: al-Najāshī, al-Rijāl, pg. 434, person # 1165) and al-Ḥillī (See: al-Ḥillī’s al-Khulāṣah, pg. 152, person #71).
[10] al-Ṣadūq, al-Amālī, Majlis # 77, pg. 511-512, ḥadīth # 7
`Āṣif al-Muḥsinī says this ḥadīth is Ṣaḥīḥ (Authentic) (See: `Āṣif al-Muḥsinī’s Mashra`ah Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 1, pg. 261). Al-Majlisī says this ḥadīth is Mu`tabar (Authentic) (See: al-Majlisī’s Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 11, pg. 290). `Alī Namazī al-Shāhrūdī says this ḥadīth is Ṣaḥīḥ (Authentic) (See: al-Shāhrūdī’s Mustadarak Safīnah al-Bihār, vol. 10, pg. 160).
[11] al-Ṣadūq, Kamāl al-Dīn, vol. 2, ch. 46, ḥadīth # 1:
حدثنا محمد بن الحسن بن أحمد بن الوليد رضي الله عنه قال حدثنا محمد بن الحسن الصفار عن أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى عن علي بن الحكم عن هشام بن سالم عن الصادق
Narrated to us Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan b. Aḥmad b. al-Walīd (رضي الله عنه) said Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-Ṣaffār narrated to us from Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. `Īsa from `Alī b. al-Ḥakam from Hishām b. Sālim

Bibliography


al-Ḥillī. al-Khulāṣah al-`Aqwāl. 1st ed. 1 vols. Qum: , Dār al-Dukhā’ir, 1411.
al-Majlisī. Bihār al-Anwār. 4th. 110 vols. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmiyyah, 1362.
—. Mir’āt Al-`Uqūl. 26 vols. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmiyyah, 1410.
al-Muḥsinī, `Āṣif. Mashra`ah Bihār al-Anwār. 2nd. 2 vols. Beirut: Mu’assasah al-`Ārif lil-Maṭbū`āt, 1426/2005.
al-Najāshī. Rijāl. Ed. Musa al-Shabiri al-Zanjani. 5. 1 vols. Qum: Mu’assasah al-Nashr al-Islāmī, 1416.
al-Ṣadūq. al-Amālī. 4th. 1 vols. Qum: Maktabah al-Islamiyyah, 1404.
—. Kamāl al-Dīn. 2nd. 2 vols in 1 vols. Qum: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmiyyah, 1395/1975.
al-Shāhrūdī. Mustadarak Safīnah al-Bihār. Ed. Ḥasan `Alī al-Namāzī. 10 vols. Qum: Mu’assasah al-Nashr al-Islāmī, 1419.
al-Shahrūdī. Mustadarakāt `ilm al-Rijāl. 1st. 8 vols. Tehran: Ibn al-Mu'alif, 1412.
al-Ṭūsī. al-Fihrist. Najaf: al-Maktabah al-Raḍawiyyah, n.d.

9 comments:

  1. Salam Alaikom Brother,

    Do you know why Al-Majlisi would say this Saheeh tradition should not be relied upon?
    Why does it matter that "it contradicts the opinions of the two sects and their narrations"?

    Could you please clarify this issue?

    Thank you

    Salamu Alaikom

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wa `Alaykum Assalaam,

    I believe you misread, brother. The khabar he says should not be relied upon was the khabar that says he lived for 2450 years, not the khabar that says 2500 years.

    I said in the post that this commentary is after the narration that states that he lived for 2450 years. Also within the commentary, when he says "and this khabar", I made sure to put a footnote to let the readers know that he was referring to the 2450 years.

    He says, "our authentic traditions show that he lived for 2500 years" (أخبارنا المعتبرة تدل على أنه عاش ألفين و خمسمائة سنة).

    Wa `Alaykum Assalaam

    ReplyDelete
  3. Salam Alaikom,

    You're right brother.
    I did, indeed, misread.

    Thank you for your response.

    This tradition is very interesting.
    The fact that it took Noah (pbuh) and his ship 500 years to descend should provoke some thoughts.

    Wa salamu Alaikom

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wa `Alaykum Assalaam,

    It didn't take 500 years to descend. Prophet Nuh (AS) lived 500 years AFTER the ship descended.

    Assalaamu `Alaykum

    ReplyDelete
  5. Salamu Alaikom

    You're right.
    I misread that too.

    OK.
    I won't ask any more questions. :)

    Wa Salamu Alaikom

    ReplyDelete
  6. Assalaamu `Alaykum,

    No problem, brother. Please ask as many question as you need. I am sure it not only benefits you, but it benefits everyone.

    A lot of times people are wondering the same thing, but they never have the courage to ask.

    Assalaamu `Alaykum

    ReplyDelete
  7. In Hayatul Quloob Vol. 1, Allama Majlesi quoted a tradition in this regard from Imam As-Sadiq (AS) :

    "{Imam as-Sadiq says that Nuh lived for two thousand five hundred (2500) years, eight hundred (800) years before attaining Prophethood, nine hundred (900) years of guidance to the people, then two hundred (200) years were spent in making the ship and he lived for five hundred (500) years after the deluge.}"

    Although this narration is not correct but is very useful as the calculation given above (800+900+200+500) makes his age 2400 years contradictory to the age quoted in the first line, it is either distorted or maybe because of some typing error, I think it must be 300 years instead of 200 years in making the ship, then it will make his age 2500 years.

    But more or less his age was 2500 years as per authentic sources. Allama did mentioned a tradition with Muwaththaq grading that his age was 2450, but he graded the age of 2500 years as Saheeh. 800 years before Prophetic mission, 900 years in preaching, 200 years in making ship or maybe 300 years and 500 years after the flood.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Assalaamu `Alaykum,

    You should be aware that al-Majlisi outside of Mir'aat al-`Uqool and Milaadh al-Akhyaar is way too lenient to be taken seriously. I have analyzed all the hadeeth regarding the age of Prophet Nooh (AS).

    Plus, the hadeeth you quoted contradicts the Qur'aan, Allah says that Prophet Nooh (AS) called to his people for 950 years (see: 29:14), that hadeeth says 900.

    This is the authentic hadeeth related to age of Prophet Nooh (AS).

    Wa `Alaykum Assalaam

    ReplyDelete
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